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Holiness and chaos

A little while ago I wrote about Leonardo Boff’s encouragement for us to “decipher Jesus” and looked at Claude Mellan’s remarkable engraving of the face of Christ. On this post, though, we are faced with a very different prospect. In the wake of Saturday’s terrible bombing at the Coptic Christian Saints Church in Alexandria – the face of Christ on a church mural is seen spattered with the blood of the victims.

The tragedy and poignancy of this barbaric act are written far more eloquently in the image above than ever they could be in my words. The pictorial clash above captures at once the conflict of darkness and light; the rejection of peace by violence and the ongoing presence of Christ even in our worst moments.

Just after the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, Craig Barnes, Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Pittsburgh Seminary wrote that “preachers actually live for these moments of crisis. What we do best, and better than anyone else in town, is climb behind a pulpit and speak into the fear and chaos with a sacred word.”

Do we, I wonder?

Richard Littledale

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